IndyCar-bound Romain Grosjean says the fiery crash he suffered in last year’s Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix prompted him to rethink his decision to run on superspeedways.
Grosjean will drive the No.51 Rick Ware Racing-backed Dale Coyne entry in the 2021 NTT IndyCar season and solely compete on the road and street courses.
The 34-year-old revealed he had opened discussions with Coyne prior to the accident in Bahrain with an eye for a full season drive, but felt he had to evaluate the deal during his recovery.
“I got in contact with Dale Coyne before the Bahrain incident — I think the week before Imola, or a couple of weeks before Imola — and we got on very nicely,” said Grosjean
“He made us an offer and I was going to do the full championships but then obviously Bahrain happened and for a moment I thought I was dead in Bahrain.
“Being a father of three kids I need to be sensible in my decisions, in my choices in the future, and at the minute I don’t feel comfortable. Not especially for me but more for my kids and my wife to risk ovals, at least the speedways.
“Therefore I think to learn the championship already there are some good races. I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube over the winter and it has been very interesting to see how the championship works and the difference with Formula 1.”
While he has ruled out any oval racing in 2021, Grosjean has not entirely ruled out racing on short ovals such as Gateway, or Iowa and Richmond – should they return to the schedule.
He added: “It’s always very difficult to predict the future but let’s say the first text message I got from my friend and manager Martin [Reiss] after the accident was, ‘Let’s forget IndyCar,’ and obviously after such a shock and such a terrible day you can understand that.
“But then I said, ‘Well, I think it’s still possible — I still want to do it.”
“Ovals, yes I agree — it’s something I don’t know and obviously the risk is there, but the other races…. Motorsport is always going to be risky, don’t get me wrong — that we’ve known since we’re in go-karts — but then it’s, which level do you accept?
“There may be options that I could look at (like) Gateway, but the superspeedways, I really don’t feel like I can risk that for my kids and my wife.
“For now, superspeedways are not on the list, but maybe in the future, who knows? But for now, no, it’s not in question.”